So this is has been read over by me a couple of times, but other than that, it hasn't been betaed - all mistakes are completely, wholly, totally mine. I have another fic completed but I'm waiting for it to be read over - I'm sure in the 5000 words there's at least one stupid error. I banged this little number after Outlaws and In-Laws after watching Ziva with Amira. I totes thought this was an original idea at the time but it's been covered a couple of times. Not so much the maternal focus, mentions of it, but more the mentions of the American Dream thing. I'll keep up the rambling at the bottom.

Kali does not own NCIS.

Perpetually Human

He'd noticed it first when she'd first taken Amira on her lap. She seemed comfortable with the little girl, keeping her complacent, content. Amira had giggled in amusement and Tony almost pictured Ziva with a child. She had never shown any desire for children during the times the walls around her chipped, but watching her, he couldn't help but be curious as to her maternal feelings. What were the implications of how she was brought up? What had happened these past months?

All the children with that they'd had in their care, with whom they'd spoken, interacted, had been at ease with Ziva. It was wasn't the bind of a woman and child, Tony suspected it was Ziva's respect of untainted life. Why, however was he thinking this? He quashed the irrelevant thoughts and went back to work.

The second time the thought dwelling in the back of his mind geared to the front was when he'd heard Ziva speaking about the peace in Amira's eyes. Had it not been obvious before? Of course her life would have impacted the way in which Ziva saw motherhood. Surely the maternal instincts were there, but by what were they overpowered? Survival, determination; Tony could only assume what went on in Ziva's mind, still. Though, there were other sides of her, he knew, he'd seen. She had changed so much, but even before the events in Somalia, before Rivkin, before the suspicion and the other incongruous anamolies plaguing the team, their friendship, she hadn't always kept her stoic mask. There was the appreciation, love, of the people around her, her team; the intricate bond that doubled as a safety net, even if she hadn't asked for them to break her fall. There had been few tears, but he'd definite seen hurt. How much of that did she hide?

Before he could attempt to find out, the mask was back. Like anything, however, what she had shown was enough for consideration. Were the motherly tendencies pushed back with the emotions, just a little further? Or had she locked them away permanently, accepting that her lifestyle was not one for a child?

Perhaps he was wrong. Perhaps Ziva did want children. He had taunted her with the American Dream but was it a reality? One day, would Ziva find a man with whom she could settle down and raise a child? At the image of Ziva grinning at a dark haired man whose eyes were full of adoration for his wife and child – the one chasing the dog in their neat, green lawn – was one that felt like a muted blow to his stomach.

Was it selfish to not wish these things for her? If she was happy, then he wasn't one to judge but though the man hadn't taken the form of him yet, there was a blurred outline. But, oh, he was getting ahead of himself. For now, he knew that he would never be able to watch the news reports bearing the bad news of terrorists and dead marines and corporals without thinking about getting samples to Abby, bagging and tagging and the looks in everyone's eyes when they'd known the murderer was locked up. With that in mind, he had his guesses that the feelings would be mutual for Ziva. Their job defined them, and he didn't know how to give it all up.

He knew her well enough to know she would not be able to be a stay at home mother, her most taxing job finding a parking spot at the supermarket. Her determination for good, for reason despite the consequences was not something that would leave her, even now; she had proved it. It would be unjust to have her at home all day, contributing nothing but the encouragement of greener living through recycling. Tony could defend his thoughts, hinder the selfish implications, saying that he felt it was America's loss, but was it just that? If her future didn't include her team, would it include him? She had a couple of friend outside of work about which he knew, but he noted that with everyone, the core friendships were tied in with work. The future was a looming thing, but it shared the horizon with the constant toying with death.

Death, he considered, was a factor in the lack of interest in children. Raising a child in the throes of murder was surely not much of an option, and even though Ziva was here now, in America, she was an agent: shot at more than a school teacher. Children fit the bill for adults with generic five-day-a-week, almost decent hour jobs. People who didn't have jobs where you faced team deaths more than losses in the family.

Her life before NCIS would certainly come into play, wouldn't it? Tony was sure she'd seen countless amounts of death in Israel; death of the innocent, deaths of her friends, of Tali. He could remember the day Gibbs had been gently speaking to Amanda, about where Agent Lee was. Ziva's face had crumpled with Amanda's and he could only guess she had been reliving the moment she'd heard the news that her sister was dead. Would she be able to put her life at risk with a child at home, would her job always be a part of her? Both outcomes of the answer had their flaws, their devastating affects, so what would she choose?

He was still thinking about this as he sat at his desk, the typing yet to be finished. He had no information to go by but the small indications when she was around children. Was it maternal instincts or was it desire for peace? A husband? Yes, plausible. A child? Not so much, but he could be wrong about her psyche, it wouldn't be the first time.

She walked in and he stayed distracted by his thoughts until she settled into her chair and greeted him. He replied, but it was quiet again until the time was nearing midnight; the silence had continued as a result of Tony's utter preoccupation. Another result stemming from this was his lack of work completion. The cursor was still blinking with a half finished sentence preceding it as he watched Ziva finish up her work. She had respected his silence, but it was out of character from his usual self. She made her departure with a Goodnight, Tony and was halfway to the elevator when he called out to her. She turned around.

It came from his mouth not at all as delicate as he had been planning in his mind. "Have you ever considered children, Ziva?"

Ah, that was it. She wasn't sure what fueled his train of thought, but it was clearly affecting him. She felt as though he needed a little truth for something so large so before turning to make her leave, she smiled, more wistfully than sadly as she replied, "Not anymore, Tony."

So, I've read a few fics with pregnant Ziva, but I honestly for the life of me cannot see it. I love Ziva, she's my favourite character, and we all know she's insanely complex, but I cannot see her as a mother. Not in the show's time, anyway - when that finishes (God help us all), she can live on in your heads with ten children and a labrador named Fido for all you'd like, but to me she will forever remain childless. Just madly in love with Tony and childless. I am in no way, shape or form saying she's not fit to be a mother, obviously, just that for me, I cannot see her as a parent. Thank you dear Tony DiNozzo for being my messenger for these rambled thoughts. Okay, I think that's it.